Re: Jargon Lovin' Fool

Subject: Re: Jargon Lovin' Fool
From: CHRISTINE ANAMEIER <CANAMEIE -at- email -dot- usps -dot- gov>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 19 Oct 2001 16:29:34 -0400

Andrew Plato wrote:
> Many geeks will find attempts at converting perfectly good
> jargon to "friendly terms" as proof that the writer (and
> hence the maker of the product) are clueless and uncredible.

Sure. I'll buy that. But so far, in the jobs I've had, I haven't been
writing for geeks. (Correction: briefly, for one ten-page doc, I wrote
for geeks. Their reaction to my jargon-free document was reasonably
positive. My biggest skeptic seemed pleasantly surprised.) I write
end-user software documentation.

> Also, geeks have powerful influence on a product's ability
> to penetrate the market. Generally, if geeks like something,
> it will survive and get popular. I mean what else would
> explain the rampant popularity of Linux or FreeBSD? It
> certainly isn't "friendly."

Rampant popularity?! Geez, Andrew, you've been hanging around the
uber-geeks too long. Linux and FreeBSD are Very Good Things,
worthwhile projects, and so on, but their market share is dwarfed by
Microsoft's. (Flame-retardant disclaimer: I am not saying Windows is
better. I'm saying far more people use it.)

By your standards, MOST people are "clueless drips," as you put it.
<g> Most people are not network administrators. They're people who
haven't figured out yet that if you hold down the mouse button on the
scrollbar, it keeps scrolling. This doesn't mean they're stupid; it
means their area of expertise is different from ours. My job is to
give them the information and help they need. Tech jargon only gets in
the way.

You and I are writing for different audiences. I do not write for
geeks. I write for the other 90% of the population.

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